Gabriel Sherman has an article in the New Republic on my favorite little rag, Politico. As I previously suspected, Politico is animated exclusively by driving readership through frivolous political controversy. At least they can admit it.
The motto around the Politico newsroom is to “win the morning, win the afternoon”–by which editors mean that Politico‘s stories need to be the most talked-about and cited in that day’s news cycle. One measure of winning is getting stories linked on sites like Drudge Report and The Huffington Post, which leads to appearances on the cable shows. Politico employs three publicists who routinely send out links to bloggers and producers.
Legitimate journalistic outfits report news, they don’t create news, and they certainly don’t cater to the Drudge Report (at least the Huffington Post exists independtly of shills sources for GOP politicans and interest groups). Anyway, I’m not sure what sort of unscrupulousness it requires to try and please Matt Drudge while masquerading as a journalist, but it makes me feel better about working in PR. This is the purview of tabloids and forum trolls, which is precisely what is so frustrating about this vapid publication: unlike the exploits of a few retarded 20-somethings in Los Angeles, public policy actually has tangible, involuntary impact on people’s lives. I suppose Wonkette had it right to describe Politico as a “vulgar asshole of a publication.”